The UAE's General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf), announced Monday that the country will not be granting permits to non-Emirati Muslim residents for the upcoming Hajj season and for future seasons, Khaleej Times reported.

Awqaf said the decision was based on agreements between the ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia and a UAE delegation of Hajj affairs.

Almost 40,000 people in the UAE, both nationals and expats, had applied online to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during this year's season, which begins on August 30, 2017. 

The number of applications exceeded the country's 6,228 Hajj quota.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr. Ahmad Al Mousa, the spokesman of Awqaf explained that Muslim expatriates in the UAE will have to apply from their home countries if they wished to make the pilgrimage.

Dr Al Mousa also explained that the Saudi move was applicable to all countries across the world.

Stricter national quotas

Saudi Arabian authorities imposed a "20 percent cut in the quota for foreign pilgrims, and a 50 percent cut for domestic pilgrims," in a bid to guarantee safety during the expansion of the Grand Mosque, Arab News reported.

The quota for pilgrims will slowly be raised and restored to what it once was some five years ago, an official statement said.  

In line with the changing policies, the kingdom approved a proposal to increase the number of pilgrims inside and outside Saudi Arabia during this year's Hajj season - a move that was hailed by many. 

The stricter quotas were implemented in light of a tragedy, when hundreds of people died in a crush at the Hajj in 2015. According to The National, Riyadh had said that 769 pilgrims were killed at the time, the highest death toll since the crush in 1990.